Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2006 mid term elections -- Are fair elections more important than 911 truth?

Welcome to http://u2r2h-documents.blogspot.com/


Might makes Right .. says the current administration.

Last night I heard this short, sweet MP3 commentary (Barry Jones):

interesting commentaries</a>

More depressing details:
Politics in the 'New Normal' America

Most important:

"The Right will steal the next one too - unless we stop them."
Professor Mark Crispin Miller, NYU


None Dare Call It Stolen

Ohio, the election, and America's servile press

Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2005.

What actually happened in Ohio in 2004.

An excerpt from this report appeared in August 2005.

The complete text appears below. Originally from August 2005. By Mark
Crispin Miller.

Whichever candidate you voted for (or think you voted for), or even if you
did not vote (or could not vote), you must admit that last year's
presidential race was—if nothing else—pretty interesting. True, the press
has dropped the subject, and the Democrats, with very few exceptions, have
“moved on.” Yet this contest may have been the most unusual in U.S.
history; it was certainly among those with the strangest outcomes. You may
remember being surprised yourself. The infamously factious Democrats were
fiercely unified—Ralph Nader garnered only about 0.38 percent of the
national vote—while the Republicans were split, with a vocal anti-Bush
front that included anti-Clinton warrior Bob Barr of Georgia; Ike's son
John Eisenhower; Ronald Reagan's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
William J. Crowe Jr.; former Air Force Chief of Staff and onetime “Veteran
for Bush” General Merrill “Tony” McPeak; founding neocon Francis Fukuyama;
Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, and various large alliances of military
officers, diplomats, and business professors. The American Conservative,
co-founded by Pat Buchanan, endorsed five candidates for president,
including both Bush and Kerry, while the Financial Times and The Economist
came out for Kerry alone. At least fifty-nine daily newspapers that backed
Bush in the previous election endorsed Kerry (or no one) in this election.
The national turnout in 2004 was the highest since 1968, when another
unpopular war had swept the ruling party from the White House. [1] Yet
this ever-less-beloved president, this president who had united liberals
and conservatives and nearly all the world against himself—this president
somehow bested his opponent by 3,000,176 votes.

How did he do it? To that most important question the commentariat,
briskly prompted by Republicans, supplied an answer. Americans of faith—a
silent majority heretofore unmoved by any other politician—had poured
forth by the millions to vote “Yes!” for Jesus' buddy in the White House.
Bush's 51 percent, according to this thesis, were roused primarily by
“family values.” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council,
called gay marriage “the hood ornament on the family values wagon that
carried the president to a second term.” The pundits eagerly pronounced
their amens—“Moral values,” Tucker Carlson said on CNN, “drove President
Bush and other Republican candidates to victory this week”—although it is
not clear why. The primary evidence of our Great Awakening was a
post-election poll by the Pew Research Center in which 27 percent of the
respondents, when asked which issue “mattered most” to them in the
election, selected something called “moral values.” This slight plurality
of impulse becomes still less impressive when we note that, as the
pollsters went to great pains to make clear, “the relative importance of
moral values depends greatly on how the question is framed.” In fact, when
voters were asked to “name in their own words the most important factor in
their vote,” only 14 percent managed to come up with “moral values.”
Strangely, this detail went little mentioned in the post-electoral

The press has had little to say about most of the strange details of the
election—except, that is, to ridicule all efforts to discuss them. This
animus appeared soon after November 2, in a spate of caustic articles
dismissing any critical discussion of the outcome as crazed speculation:
“Election paranoia surfaces: Conspiracy theorists call results rigged,”
chuckled the Baltimore Sun on November 5. “Internet Buzz on Vote Fraud Is
Dismissed,” proclaimed the Boston Globe on November 10. “Latest Conspiracy
Theory—Kerry Won—Hits the Ether,” the Washington Post chortled on November
11. The New York Times weighed in with “Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by
Blogs, Are Quickly Buried”—making mock not only of the “post-election
theorizing” but of cyberspace itself, the fons et origo of all such loony
tunes, according to the Times.

Such was the news that most Americans received. Although the tone was
scientific, “realistic,” skeptical, and “middle-of-the-road,” the
explanations offered by the press were weak and immaterial. It was as if
they were reporting from inside a forest fire without acknowledging the
fire, except to keep insisting that there was no fire.[3] Since Kerry has
conceded, they argued, and since “no smoking gun” had come to light, there
was no story to report. This is an oddly passive argument. Even so, the
evidence that something went extremely wrong last fall is copious, and not
hard to find. Much of it was noted at the time, albeit by local papers and
haphazardly. Concerning the decisive contest in Ohio, the evidence is
lucidly compiled in a single congressional report, which, for the last
half-year, has been available to anyone inclined to read it. It is a
veritable arsenal of “smoking guns”—and yet its findings may be less
extraordinary than the fact that no one in this country seems to care
about them.

* * *

On January 5, Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking
Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, released Preserving Democracy:
What Went Wrong in Ohio. The report was the result of a five-week
investigation by the committee's Democrats, who reviewed thousands of
complaints of fraud, malfeasance, or incompetence surrounding the election
in Ohio, and further thousands of complaints that poured in by phone and
email as word of the inquiry spread. The congressional researchers were
assisted by volunteers in Ohio who held public hearings in Columbus,
Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati, and questioned more than two hundred
witnesses. (Although they were invited, Republicans chose not to join in
the inquiry.) [4]

Preserving Democracy describes three phases of Republican chicanery: the
run-up to the election, the election itself, and the post-election
cover-up. The wrongs exposed are not mere dirty tricks (though Bush/Cheney
also went in heavily for those) but specific violations of the U.S. and
Ohio constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1968,
the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act.
Although Conyers trod carefully when the report came out, insisting that
the crimes did not affect the outcome of the race (a point he had to make,
he told me, “just to get a hearing”), his report does “raise grave doubts
regarding whether it can be said that the Ohio electors selected on
December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let
alone Federal requirements and constitutional standards.” The report cites
“massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies” throughout
the state—wrongs, moreover, that were hardly random accidents. “In many
cases,” the report says, “these irregularities were caused by intentional
misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State
J. Kenneth Blackwell, the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio.”[5]

The first phase of malfeasance entailed, among many other actions, several
months of bureaucratic hijinks aimed at disenfranchising Democrats, the
most spectacular result of which was “a wide discrepancy between the
availability of voting machines in more minority, Democratic and urban
areas as compared to more Republican, suburban and exurban areas.” Such
unequal placement had the predictable effect of slowing the voting process
to a crawl at Democratic polls, while making matters quick and easy in
Bush country: a clever way to cancel out the Democrats' immense success at
registering new voters in Ohio. (We cannot know the precise number of new
voters registered in Ohio by either party because many states, including
Ohio, do not register voters by party affiliation. The New York Times
reported in September, however, that new registration rose 25 percent in
Ohio's predominantly Republican precincts and 250 percent in Ohio's
predominantly Democratic precincts.)

At Kenyon College in Gambier, for instance, there were only two machines
for 1,300 would-be voters, even though “a surge of late registrations
promised a record vote.” Gambier residents and Kenyon students had to
stand in line for hours, in the rain and in “crowded, narrow hallways,”
with some of them inevitably forced to call it quits. “In contrast, at
nearby Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, which is considered more Republican
leaning, there were ample waiting machines and no lines.” This was not a
consequence of limited resources. In Franklin County alone, as voters
stood for hours throughout Columbus and elsewhere, at least 125 machines
collected dust in storage. The county's election officials had “decided to
make do with 2,866 machines, even though the analysis showed that the
county needs 5,000 machines.”

It seemed at times that Ohio's secretary of state was determined to try
every stunt short of levying a poll tax to suppress new voter turnout. On
September 7, based on an overzealous reading of an obscure state bylaw, he
ordered county boards of elections to reject all Ohio voter-registration
forms not “printed on white, uncoated paper of not less than 80 lb. text
weight.” Under public pressure he reversed the order three weeks later, by
which time unknown numbers of Ohioans had been disenfranchised. Blackwell
also attempted to limit access to provisional ballots. The Help America
Vote Act—passed in 2002 to address some of the problems of the 2000
election—prevents election officials from deciding at the polls who will
be permitted to cast provisional ballots, as earlier Ohio law had
permitted. On September 16, Blackwell issued a directive that somehow
failed to note that change. A federal judge ordered him to revise the
language, Blackwell resisted, and the court was forced to draft its own
version of the directive, which it ordered Blackwell to accept, even as it
noted Blackwell's “vigorous, indeed, at times, obdurate opposition” to
compliance with the law.

Under Blackwell the state Republican Party tried to disenfranchise still
more Democratic voters through a technique known as “caging.” The party
sent registered letters to new voters, “then sought to challenge 35,000
individuals who refused to sign for the letters,” including “voters who
were homeless, serving abroad, or simply did not want to sign for
something concerning the Republican Party.” It should be noted that
marketers have long used zip codes to target, with remarkable precision,
the ethnic makeup of specific neighborhoods, and also that, according to
exit polls last year, 84 percent of those black citizens who voted in Ohio
voted for Kerry.[6]

* * *

The second phase of lawlessness began the Monday before the election, when
Blackwell issued two directives restricting media coverage of the
election. First, reporters were to be barred from the polls, because their
presence contravened Ohio's law on “loitering” near voting places. Second,
media representatives conducting exit polls were to remain 100 feet away
from the polls. Blackwell's reasoning here was that, with voter turnout
estimated at 73 percent, and with many new voters so blissfully ignorant
as to have “never looked at a voting machine before,” his duty was clear:
the public was to be protected from the “interference or intimidation”
caused by “intense media scrutiny.” Both cases were at once struck down in
federal court on First Amendment grounds.

Blackwell did manage to ban reporters from a post-election ballot-counting
site in Warren County because—election officials claimed—the FBI had
warned of an impending terrorist attack there. The FBI said it issued no
such warning, however, and the officials refused to name the agent who
alerted them. Moreover, as the Cincinnati Enquirer later reported, email
correspondence between election officials and the county's building
services director indicated that lockdown plans—“down to the wording of
the signs that would be posted on the locked doors”—had been in the works
for at least a week. Beyond suggesting that officials had something to
hide, the ban was also, according to the report, a violation of Ohio law
and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Contrary to a prior understanding, Blackwell also kept foreign monitors
away from the Ohio polls. Having been formally invited by the State
Department on June 9, observers from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, an international consortium based in Vienna, had
come to witness and report on the election. The mission's two-man teams
had been approved to monitor the process in eleven states—but the
observers in Ohio were prevented from watching the opening of the polling
places, the counting of the ballots, and, in some cases, the election
itself. “We thought we could be at the polling places before, during, and
after” the voting, said Søren Søndergaard, a Danish member of the team.
Denied admission to polls in Columbus, he and his partner went to
Blackwell, who refused them letters of approval, again citing Ohio law
banning “loitering” outside the polls. The two observers therefore had to
“monitor” the voting at a distance of 100 feet from each polling place.
Although not technically illegal, Blackwell's refusal was improper and, of
course, suspicious. (The Conyers report does not deal with this episode.)

To what end would election officials risk so malodorous an action? We can
only guess, of course. We do know, however, that Ohio, like the nation,
was the site of numerous statistical anomalies—so many that the number is
itself statistically anomalous, since every single one of them took votes
from Kerry. In Butler County the Democratic candidate for State Supreme
Court took in 5,347 more votes than Kerry did. In Cuyahoga County ten
Cleveland precincts “reported an incredibly high number of votes for third
party candidates who have historically received only a handful of votes
from these urban areas”—mystery votes that would mostly otherwise have
gone to Kerry. In Franklin County, Bush received nearly 4,000 extra votes
from one computer, and, in Miami County, just over 13,000 votes appeared
in Bush's column after all precincts had reported. In Perry County the
number of Bush votes somehow exceeded the number of registered voters,
leading to voter turnout rates as high as 124 percent. Youngstown, perhaps
to make up the difference, reported negative 25 million votes.

In Cuyahoga County and in Franklin County—both Democratic strongholds—the
arrows on the absentee ballots were not properly aligned with their
respective punch holes, so that countless votes were miscast, as in West
Palm Beach back in 2000. In Mercer County some 4,000 votes for president—
representing nearly 7 percent of the electorate—mysteriously dropped out
of the final count. The machines in heavily Democratic Lucas County kept
going haywire, prompting the county's election director to admit that
prior tests of the machines had failed. One polling place in Lucas County
never opened because all the machines were locked up somewhere and no one
had the key. In Hamilton County many absentee voters could not cast a
Democratic vote for president because county workers, in taking Ralph
Nader's name off many ballots, also happened to remove John Kerry's name.
The Washington Post reported that in Mahoning County “25 electronic
machines transferred an unknown number of Kerry votes to the Bush column,”
but it did not think to ask why.

Ohio Democrats also were heavily thwarted through dirty tricks recalling
Richard Nixon's reign and the systematic bullying of Dixie. There were
“literally thousands upon thousands” of such incidents, the Conyers report
notes, cataloguing only the grossest cases. Voters were told, falsely,
that their polling place had changed; the news was conveyed by phone
calls, “door-hangers,” and even party workers going door to door. There
were phone calls and fake “voter bulletins” instructing Democrats that
they were not to cast their votes until Wednesday, November 3, the day
after Election Day. Unknown “volunteers” in Cleveland showed up at the
homes of Democrats, kindly offering to “deliver” completed absentee
ballots to the election office. And at several polling places, election
personnel or hired goons bused in to do the job “challenged” voters—black
voters in particular—to produce documents confirming their eligibility to
vote. The report notes one especially striking incident:
In Franklin County, a worker at a Holiday Inn observed a team of 25 people
who called themselves the “Texas Strike Force” using payphones to make
intimidating calls to likely voters, targeting people recently in the
prison system. The “Texas Strike Force” paid their way to Ohio, but their
hotel accommodations were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party, whose
headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard one caller
threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to
jail if he voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did

* * *

The electoral fraud continued past Election Day, but by means far more
complex and less apparent than the bullying that marked the day itself.
Here the aim was to protect the spoils, which required the prevention of
countywide hand recounts by any means necessary. The procedure for
recounts is quite clear. In fact, it was created by Blackwell. A recount
having been approved, each of the state's eighty-eight counties must
select a number of precincts randomly, so that the total of their ballots
comes to 3 percent (at least) of the county's total vote. Those ballots
must then be simultaneously hand counted and machine counted. If the hand
count and the new machine count match, the remaining 97 percent of the
selected ballots may be counted by machine. If, however, the totals vary
by as little as a single vote, all the other votes must be hand counted,
and the results, once reconfirmed, must be accepted as the new official

The Ohio recount officially started on December 13—five days after
Conyers's hearings opened—and was scheduled to go on until December 28.
Because the recount (such as it was) coincided with the inquiry, Conyers
was able to discover, and reveal in his report, several instances of what
seemed to be electoral fraud.

On December 13, for instance, Sherole Eaton, deputy director of elections
for Hocking County, filed an affidavit stating that the computer that
operates the tabulating machine had been “modified” by one Michael Barbian
Jr., an employee of Triad GSI, the corporate manufacturer of the county's
voting machinery.
Ms. Eaton witnessed Mr. Barbian modify the Hocking County computer vote
tabulator before the announcement of the Ohio recount. She further
witnessed Barbian, upon the announcement that the Hocking County precinct
was planned to be the subject of the initial Ohio test recount, make
further alterations based on his knowledge of the situation. She also has
firsthand knowledge that Barbian advised election officials how to
manipulate voting machinery to ensure that [the] preliminary hand recount
matched the machine count.[7]

The committee also learned that Triad similarly intervened in at least two
other counties. In a filmed interview, Barbian said that he had examined
machines not only in Hocking County but also in Lorain, Muskingum, Clark,
Harrison, and Guernsey counties; his purpose was to provide the Board of
Elections with as much information as possible—“The more information you
give someone,” he said, “the better job they can do.” The report concludes
that such information as Barbian and his colleagues could provide was
helpful indeed:
Based on the above, including actual admissions and statements by Triad
employees, it strongly appears that Triad and its employees engaged in a
course of behavior to provide “cheat sheets” to those counting the
ballots. The cheat sheets told them how many votes they should find for
each candidate, and how many over and under votes they should calculate to
match the machine count. In that way, they could avoid doing a full
county-wide hand recount mandated by state law. If true, this would
frustrate the entire purpose of the recount law—to randomly ascertain if
the vote counting apparatus is operating fairly and effectively, and if
not to conduct a full hand recount.

The report notes Triad's role in several other cases. In Union County the
hard drive on one tabulator was replaced after the election. (The old one
had to be subpoenaed.) In Monroe County, after the 3 percent hand count
had twice failed to match the machine count, a Triad employee brought in a
new machine and took away the old one. (That machine's count matched the
hand count.) Such operations are especially worrying in light of the fact
that Triad's founder, Brett A. Rapp, “has been a consistent contributor to
Republican causes.” (Neither Barbian nor Rapp would respond to Harper's
queries, and the operator at Triad refused even to provide the name of a
press liaison.)

There were many cases of malfeasance, however, in which Triad played no
role. Some 1,300 Libertarian and Green Party volunteers, led by Green
Party recount manager Lynne Serpe, monitored the count throughout Ohio.[8]
They reported that: In Allen, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Morrow, Hocking, Vinton,
Summit, and Medina counties, the precincts for the 3 percent hand recount
were preselected, not picked at random, as the law requires. In Fairfield
County the 3 percent hand recount yielded a total that diverged from the
machine count—but despite protests from observers, officials did not then
perform a hand recount of all the ballots, as the law requires. In
Washington and Lucas counties, ballots were marked or altered, apparently
to ensure that the hand recount would equal the machine count. In Ashland,
Portage, and Coshocton counties, ballots were improperly unsealed or
stored. Belmont County “hired an independent programmer (‘at great
expense’) to reprogram the counting machines so that they would only count
votes for President during the recount.” Finally, Democratic and/or Green
observers were denied access to absentee, and/or provisional ballots, or
were not allowed to monitor the recount process, in Summit, Huron, Putnam,
Allen, Holmes, Mahoning, Licking, Stark, Medina, Warren, and Morgan
counties. In short, the Ohio vote was never properly recounted, as
required by Ohio law.

* * *

That is what the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee found,
that is what they distributed to everyone in Congress, and that is what
any member of the national press could have reported at any time in the
last half year. Conyers may or may not have precisely captured every
single dirty trick. The combined votes gained by the Republicans through
such devices may or may not have decided the election. (Bush won Ohio by
118,601 votes.) Indeed, if you could somehow look into the heart of every
eligible voter in the United States to know his or her truest wishes, you
might discover that Bush/Cheney was indeed the people's choice. But you
have to admit—the report is pretty interesting.

In fact, its release was timed for maximum publicity. According to the
United States Code (Title 3, Chapter 1, Section 15), the President of the
Senate—i.e., the U.S. Vice President—must announce each state's electoral
results, then “call for objections.” Objections must be made in writing
and “signed by at least one Senator and one Member of the House of
Representatives.” A challenge having been submitted, the joint proceedings
must then be suspended so that both houses can retire to their respective
chambers to decide the question, after which they reconvene and either
certify or reject the vote.

Thus was an unprecedented civic drama looming on the day that Conyers's
report appeared. First of all, electoral votes had been contested in the
Congress only twice. In 1877 the electoral votes of several states were
challenged, some by Democrats supporting Samuel Tilden, others by
Republicans supporting Rutherford B. Hayes. In 1969, Republicans
challenged the North Carolina vote when Lloyd W. Bailey, a “faithless
elector” pledged to Richard Nixon for that state, voted for George
Wallace.[9] And a new challenge would be more than just “historic.”
Because of what had happened—or not happened—four years earlier, it would
also be extraordinarily suspenseful. On January 6, 2001, House Democrats,
galvanized by the electoral larceny in Florida, tried and failed to
challenge the results. Their effort was aborted by the failure of a single
Democratic senator to join them, as the law requires. Al Gore—still vice
president, and therefore still the Senate's president—had urged Democrats
to make no such unseemly waves but to respect Bush's installation for the
sake of national unity. Now, it seemed, that partisan disgrace would be
redressed, at least symbolically; for a new challenge from the House, by
Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio, would be co-signed by
Barbara Boxer, Democratic senator from California, who, at a noon press
conference on January 6, heightened the suspense by tearfully
acknowledging her prior wrong: “Four years ago I didn't intervene. I was
asked by Al Gore not to do so and I didn't do so. Frankly, looking back on
it, I wish I had.”

It was a story perfect for TV—a rare event, like the return of Halley's
comet; a scene of high contention in the nation's capital; a heroine
resolved to make things right, both for the public and herself. Such big
news would highlight Conyers's report, whose findings, having spurred the
challenge in the first place, would now inform the great congressional
debate on the election in Ohio.

As you may recall, this didn't happen—the challenge was rejected by a vote
of 267‒31 in the House and 74‒1 in the Senate. The Boston Globe gave the
report 118 words (page 3); the Los Angeles Times, 60 words (page 18). It
made no news in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, or
U.S. News & World Report. It made no news on CBS, NBC, ABC, or PBS. Nor
did NPR report it (though Talk of the Nation dealt with it on January 6).
CNN did not report it, though Donna Brazile pointedly affirmed its copious
“evidence” on Inside Politics on January 6. (Judy Woodruff failed to pause
for an elaboration.) Also on that date, the Fox News Channel briefly
showed Conyers himself discussing “irregularities” in Franklin County,
though it did not mention the report. He was followed by Tom DeLay, who
assailed the Democrats for their “assault against the institutions of our
representative democracy.” The New York Times negated both the challenge
and the document in a brief item headlined “Election Results to Be
Certified, with Little Fuss from Kerry,” which ran on page 16 and ended
with this quote from Dennis Hastert's office, vis-à-vis the Democrats:
“They are really just trying to stir up their loony left.”

Indeed, according to the House Republicans, it was the Democrats who were
the troublemakers and cynical manipulators—spinning “fantasies” and
“conspiracy theories” to “distract” the people, “poison the atmosphere of
the House of Representatives” (Dave Hobson, R., Ohio), and “undermine the
prospect of democracy” (David Dreier, R., Calif.); mounting “a direct
attack to undermine our democracy” (Tom DeLay, R., Tex.), “an assault
against the institutions of our representative democracy” (DeLay); trying
“to plant the insidious seeds of doubt in the electoral process” (J. D.
Hayworth, R., Ariz.); and in so doing following “their party's primary
strategy: to obstruct, to divide and to destroy” (Deborah D. Pryce, R.,

Furthermore, the argument went, there was no evidence of electoral fraud.
The Democrats were using “baseless and meritless tactics” (Pryce) to
present their “so-called evidence” (Bob Ney, R., Ohio), “making
allegations that have no basis of fact” (Candice Miller, R., Mich.),
making claims for which “there is no evidence whatsoever, no evidence
whatsoever” (Dreier). “There is absolutely no credible basis to question
the outcome of the election” (Rob Portman, R., Ohio). “No proven
allegations of fraud. No reports of widespread wrongdoing. It was, at the
end of the day, an honest election” (Bill Shuster, R., Pa.). And so on.
Bush won Ohio by “an overwhelming and comfortable margin,” Rep. Pryce
insisted, while Ric Keller (R., Fla.) said that Bush won by “an
overwhelmingly comfortable margin.” (“The president's margin is
significant,” observed Roy Blunt, R., Mo.) In short, as Tom DeLay put it,
“no such voter disenfranchisement occurred in this election of 2004—and,
for that matter, the election of 2000. Everybody knows it. The voters know
it, the candidates know it, the courts know it, and the evidence proves

That all this commentary was simply wrong went unnoticed and/or
unreported. Once Bush was re-inaugurated, all inquiries were apparently
concluded, and the story was officially kaput. By March talk of fraud was
calling forth the same reflexive ridicule that had prevailed back in
November—but only now and then, on those rare moments when somebody dared
bring it up: “Also tonight,” CNN's Lou Dobbs deadpanned ironically on
March 8, “Teresa Heinz Kerry still can't accept certain reality. She
suggests the presidential election may have been rigged!” And when, on
March 31, the National Election Data Archive Project released its study
demonstrating that the exit polls had probably been right, it made news
only in the Akron Beacon-Journal.[10] The article included this response
from Carlo LoParo, Kenneth Blackwell's spokesman: “What are you going to
do except laugh at it?”

* * *

In the summer of 2003, Representative Peter King (R., N.Y.) was
interviewed by Alexandra Pelosi at a barbecue on the White House lawn for
her HBO documentary Diary of a Political Tourist. “It's already over. The
election's over. We won,” King exulted more than a year before the
election. When asked by Pelosi—the daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy
Pelosi—how he knew that Bush would win, he answered, “It's all over but
the counting. And we'll take care of the counting.”

King, who is well known in Washington for his eccentric utterances, says
he was kidding, that he has known Pelosi for years, that she is “a clown,”
and that her project was a “spoof.” Still, he said it. And laughter,
despite the counsel of Kenneth Blackwell's press flack, seems an
inappropriate response to the prospect of a stolen election—as does the
advice that we “get over it.” The point of the Conyers report, and of this
report as well, is not to send Bush packing and put Kerry in his place.
The Framers could no more conceive of electoral fraud on such a scale than
they could picture Fox News Channel or the Pentagon; and so we have no
constitutional recourse, should it be proven, finally, that the wrong guy
“won.” The point of our revisiting the last election, rather, is to see
exactly what the damage was so that the people can demand appropriate
reforms. Those who say we should “move on” from that suspicious race and
work instead on “bigger issues”—like electoral reform—are urging the
impossible; for there has never been a great reform that was not driven by
some major scandal.

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization,”
Thomas Jefferson said, “it expects what never was and never will be.” That
much-quoted line foretells precisely what has happened to us since “the
news” has turned into a daily paraphrase of Karl Rove's fevered dreams.
Just as 2+2=5 in Orwell's Oceania, so here today the United States just
won two brilliant military victories, 9/11 could not have been prevented,
we live in a democracy (like the Iraqis), and last year's presidential
race “was, at the end of the day, an honest election.” Such claims,
presented as the truth, are nothing but faith-based reiteration, as valid
as the notions that one chooses to be homosexual, that condoms don't
prevent the spread of HIV, and that the universe was made 6,000 years ago.

In this nation's epic struggle on behalf of freedom, reason, and
democracy, the press has unilaterally disarmed—and therefore many good
Americans, both liberal and conservative, have lost faith in the promise
of self-government. That vast surrender is demoralizing, certainly, but if
we face it, and endeavor to reverse it, it will not prove fatal. This
democracy can survive a plot to hijack an election. What it cannot survive
is our indifference to, or unawareness of, the evidence that such a plot
has succeeded.
About the Author

Mark Crispin Miller is the author of The Bush Dyslexicon and, most
recently, Cruel and Unusual. His next book, Fooled Again, will be
published this fall by Basic Books.


The print version of “None Dare Call It Stolen” contained the following
line, which was incorrect: “on Election Day, twenty-six state exit polls
incorrectly predicted wins for Kerry.” The correct number was five states.
Although we regret the error, the context surrounding it bears further

The mistake was brought to our attention by a letter from Warren Mitofsky,
founder of Mitofsky International, which, along with partner Edison Media
Research, has conducted exit polls of every presidential contest since
1996. In the letter, Mr. Mitofsky stated that not only was the figure for
twenty-six states incorrect, so, too, was the assertion that
Edison/Mitofsky's exit polling contained any mistakes whatsoever. “One
hundred-twenty-three races for President, Senator, Governor, and
propositions,” Mr. Mitofsky wrote, “were called without error.” He further
attributed our misstep to “confusing the reports by bloggers with the exit
poll my partner and I did.”

Perhaps. But a closer inspection of what Mr. Mitofsky actually means by
“called without error” could indicate otherwise. On January 19, 2005,
Edison/Mitofsky released a report that, while continuing to maintain that
no election projection mistakes were made, did acknowledge the existence
of serious “differences between the exit poll estimates and the actual
vote count.” In thirty states, the voter estimates produced by
Edison/Mitofsky data was wrong to a statistically significant degree
(twenty-six states for Kerry, four for Bush). Our mistake came in failing
to recognize that in twenty-one of the twenty-six instances in which the
estimates incorrectly named Kerry as the front-runner, he ultimately
carried the state, only by a smaller margin than indicated by the exit
polls. Still, an apparent logical disconnect would seem to exist. How
could the estimates be wrong but not the final projection? To answer this
question, a clear picture of the difference between estimates and final
projections is needed.

On Election Day, exit poll interviewers submit their results to
Edison/Mitofsky three times, during regularly scheduled “calls,” the last
of which comes shortly before the close of the polls. These results do not
contain official vote numbers, which is important. Many people would
assume that Edison/Mitofsky's final projections exclusively utilize the
information collected at the polls and sent in during the calls; however,
this is not the process. Edison/Mitofsky's report makes clear that it does
not “rely solely on exit polls in its computations and estimates.” When
the voting is complete, actual vote numbers are combined with the exit
poll responses and “as in past elections, the final exit poll data used
for analysis . . . [is] adjusted to match the actual vote returns.” So,
even if the exit poll estimates are erroneous, Edison/Mitofsky still isn't
wrong-because they just add in the actual vote numbers to ensure
everything checks.

This practice is by no means secret, although perhaps the average voter or
election-night network-television watcher might not have been aware of it.
I certainly wasn't. Maybe knowing this should serve to highlight the risks
of viewing exit polls as a hedge against improprieties in the vote count.
Or perhaps that is precisely the best use for them. The chances that the
state exit poll estimates erred by such a wide margin was one 1 in 16.5
million, according to a study by the National Election Data Archive
Project. One final key point remains: of the five states Edison/Mitofsky
had Kerry leading that he eventually lost, Ohio was one. — Theodore Ross

2. Another poll, by Zogby International, showed that 33 percent of voters
deemed “greed and materialism” the most pressing moral problems in
America. Only 12 percent of those polled cited gay marriage. [Back]

3. Keith Olbermann, on MSNBC, stood out as an heroic exception, devoting
many segments of his nightly program Countdown to the myriad signs of
electoral mischief, particularly in Ohio. [Back]


The full report can be downloaded from the Judiciary Committee's website
at www.house.gov/judiciary_ democrats/ohiostatusrept1505.pdf and is also,
as of May, available as a trade paperback, entitled What Went Wrong in
Ohio. I should note here that, in a victory for family values, the
publishers of that paperback are my parents, Jordan and Anita Miller.

5. When contacted by Harper's Magazine, Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo
dismissed Conyers's report as a partisan attack. “Why wasn't it more than
an hour's story?” he asked, referring to the lack of media interest in the
report. “Everybody can't be wrong, can they?” [Back]

6. Let it not be said that the Democrats rose wholly above the electoral
fray: in Defiance County, Ohio, one Chad Staton was arrested on 130 counts
of vote fraud when he submitted voter-registration forms purportedly
signed by, among others, Dick Tracy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Michael Jackson, and
Mary Poppins. Of course, depending on party affiliation, the consequence
of election misdeeds varies. Staton, who told police he was paid in crack
for each registration, received fifty-four months in jail for his
fifth-degree felonies; Blackwell, for his part, is now the G.O.P.
front-runner for governor of Ohio. [Back]

7. In May 2005, Eaton was ordered by the Hocking County Board of Elections
to resign from her position. [Back]

8. The recount itself was the result of a joint application from the Green
and Libertarian parties. [Back]

9. Offended by the president-elect's first cabinet appointments (Henry
Kissinger, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, et al.), Bailey was protesting Nixon's
liberalism. [Back]

10. On the other hand, the thesis that the exit polls were flawed had been
reported by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the Chicago
Tribune, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Columbus Dispatch,
CNN.com, MSNBC, and ABC (which devoted a Nightline segment to the
“conspiracy theory” that the exit polls had been correct). [Back]
This is None Dare Call It Stolen, originally from August 2005, published
Wednesday, September 7, 2005. It is part of Features, which is part of


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